Manchester United v Tottenham: Carling Cup Final Preview
Manchester United face Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday in the League Cup final from Wembley.
Manchester United and Tottenham have met 167 times in their history but tomorrow’s clash will be the first time they have met in the final of any competition. The teams did meet in the 1967/68 Charity Shield but that’s not quite the same thing is it? Incidentally, that match ended 3 – 3 and the teams were declared “joint winners”. What an anti-climax that must have been.
Of the 167 matches, united have won 77 whilst drawing 44 and losing 46. Statistically at least, it looks like United have the edge. However, when you consider the club’s League Cup meetings, the stats look a little different. The clubs have met six times in the competition with Tottenham winning five times to United’s one.
Whilst Tottenham have had the upper hand in the past in the League Cup, the last time the clubs met in the competition was back in 1998 when United went out in the fifth round en route to that famous treble.
Since then, the clubs have met on 23 occasions in all competitions, with the North London outfit managing to pick up just two victories. Tottenham haven’t beaten United since May 2001.
United Team News
United’s priorities clearly lie with the Premier League and Champions League and so Ferguson looks set to give some of the squad players a run out. There are no places in the squad for Dimitar Berbatov or Edwin van der Sar.
Leaving Berbatov out of the squad is a good move. Berbatov has expressed a desire to win trophies and while question marks remain about his commitment and work rate, keeping the Bulgarian waiting for trophies can only help maintain his desire until the end of the season. Look what happened to Spurs last season once they had the Carling Cup in the bag. Granted, Spurs are no united but still.
It’s a toss-up in goal between Ben Foster and Tomas Kuszczak with both keepers looking questionable in their performances this campaign. With Edwin’s playing days coming to an end which one of these will make the goalkeeper’s position their own? I’m not convinced either of them have it in them.
Ferguson has all but promised starting positions to both Danny Welbeck and Darron Gibson following impressive performances whilst Rafael is out for at least a month. His twin brother Fabio is in contention and could play some part even if he doesn’t start.
Jonny Evans will face a late fitness test but the youngster is desperate to play and win his first real trophy. The young centre-back is willing to play with injections and having been asked to do so in Tuesday’s draw at the San Siro, it would be harsh on the youngster if he were to miss out on his first Cup Final.
Anderson had been out of action for five weeks with ankle ligament damage but made a surprising return for United’s Reserves against Manchester City on Thursday night. United won 2 – 1 with Anderson looking impressive for the 45 minutes he was on the pitch. Whilst the Brazilian may not be fit to play the entire match, having played in all five games in the competition so far, you can bet he’ll have some sort of role to play on Sunday.
Possible Starting Line Up
John O’Shea, Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand
Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Darron Gibson, Paul Scholes,
Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney